tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 4, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
economy. that wraps up it for this show, you but connect with us on twitter. go to my facebook page as well, leave your comments there. i read every last one of them. and make sure you join us every week for "your $$$$$," saturdays at 1:00 p.m. eastern, and log on to cnnmoney.com. to cnnmoney.com. have a great weekend. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, everyone, from the cnn headquarters in atlanta, earl once a powerful hurricane is now a weakening tropical storm. jacqui jeras is tracking it, so where is it? >> it's moving so quickly, it's almost tough to keep track of it as a result. it's moving at 40 miles per hour so it's really on the go and it's a strong tropical storm. it's almost a hurricane still, 70-mile-per-hour winds maximum sustained, 74 is what you've got for a hurricane.
this is still packing a punch. here you can see nova scotia, it made landfall 10:00 eastern time. it's over the gulf of st. lawrence now and will continue packing those strong winds and bring heavy rainfall. here you can see the forecast track and what we're expecting and it should become what we call an extra tropical system, even later on today or tonight. so pretty much done with earl for the united states. but here's what concerns me for the rest of the weekend, is that there's still going to be large swems across the atlantic seaboard here and it's a beautiful day up and down now that the storm is gone. but rip currents are going to be a huge threat, so please stay out of the water, again, throughout the weekend. we've got a couple other systems, possibly developing in the next couple of days. we'll tell you more coming up in the 3:00 eastern time hour. >> we appreciate that, we actually did not coordinate our ensemble together, but somehow we're like this. okay.
jacqui appreciate it. thank you. a special cnn report on this holiday weekend honoring american workers, we focus on a big concern for many of you, jobs. building up america looks at what small businesses are doing to protect and create jobs nationwide. >> reporter: a top worry for voters coast to coast? jobs. the issue that may decide the midterm elections? jobs. three of the best hopes for pulling the nation out of the recession? jobs, jobs, jobs. for months now, we've been driving the cnn express all across the country telling stories of how people are building up america despite hard times. so on this labor day weekend, we focus on what businesses are doing to protect and create jobs in many states. building up america on the job.
in all of central texas, there may be no one who knows more about rebuilding than the woman who runs this lumber company out on the edge of austin. because for the past few years, that's all her life has been about. >> hey there. what have you got for me? >> reporter: a dozen years back, laura cullen took over her dad's business. and even as a single mother she was making a go of it until new year's eve 2005. so then calamity strikes. what happened? >> a massive fire. everything that laura owns is burnt to the ground. >> reporter: $1 million worth of buildings, equipment and inventory gone. laura had no insurance, little savings, but she did have conviction. this would not defeat her. so laura moved into a house on the edge of the property and day by day started to rebuild.
now, remember, while this was happening, the entire construction industry in this country took a nosedive. so she didn't have to just rebuild, she had to remake her entire business plan. this is cotton insulation. >> this is made out of recycled blue jeans. >> reporter: to cash in on construction trends she began stocking more green products, recycled plastics, sustainable woods. by selling things like this, sustainable lumber. >> there's a demand. >> reporter: you have a niche in the market that really nobody was serving. >> nobody. >> reporter: she tapped into a government program that pays young people to learn trades. augmenting her small staff. >> you'll be working in the hardware store, you'll be learning retail sales. >> reporter: so you're renting out property. >> yes. >> reporter: she cut down on the space she uses making some available to other struggling small businesses. >> what i'm doing right now is virtually impossible, which is a one-man shop. >> reporter: and she joined a business group and meets every
few weeks with a mentor, john brown, who owns a much bigger construction company. so the basic idea is it's better for the whole business community if more established businesses help out those that are just coming along. >> yes. you should always be willing to grow the next generation. >> reporter: laura knows the economy is bad, but she's not afraid. do you think have you fully recovered at this point? >> no. no, but i am on the way up. >> reporter: because each time she winds down from another day of building up her corner of america, laura knows she'll be right back at it tomorrow. >> we are going to survive. >> reporter: one of the worst problem that's can actually plague a community for years and years is chronic unemployment. when a person can't get or hold a job, obviously they suffer, but they also depress wages for everyone else and they hurt the
tax base and it just goes on and on from there. sometimes the issue is that when they got out of school they never really made the transition to the workplace effectively. they lost the first job, and then they lost a second job, and then the third job, by the time they're in their 30s, maybe it's all over with. they can't really figure out how to get into the workforce. that's why some people here in austin have tried to take that problem head on. out on the east edge of austin. >> here's eyewear for five people. >> reporter: rebuilding america starts with rebuilding lives. meet the latest class of the skill point alliance construction gateway. funded by city and county tax dollars, this is an innovative five-week training program to turn the unemployable into the employed. >> this is a big deal to you. >> yes. very big deal. this is the beginning of the rest of my life. >> i'm excited, even though it's really intense.
>> reporter: the target is individuals over the age of 18 who ought to be entering the workforce but who have little hope of doing so because they dropped out of school or wound up in jail or had some other problem. sean gomez for example had been in and out of prison for robbery by the time he was 25. >> there was no work. it was nonexistent to me for people like myself. >> if we follow the basics and always do the basics right, everything else falls in place. >> then he ran into sylvester, rekroouts students for the construction gateway program. scouring homeless shelters, unemployment lines. >> i look for two things, a student i feel will benefit from this, and a second one which is just as important, is an individual that is going to be a good employee. >> reporter: once in, they're tauth the boot camp basics of construction work, showing up on time, doing what you're told, the language of tools and rules of building. all with the goal of helping not
just them but the broader community, too. >> we need new people coming in the pipeline, and one of the things that construction gateway does is that. fills the pipeline withe entry level construction workers. >> reporter: people we need to economically and physically rebuild america. >> absolutely. absolutely. >> reporter: the result? close to 90% of construction gateway graduates who had little hope of a job before entering the program are employed within days of graduation and they stay that way. how confident are you that you'll get employment once you leave here? >> 100%. >> reporter: it certainly worked for shawn. he has been on the job for seven years and is now a foreman on an electrical job. the program takes only 100 students a year, but that's 100 doing good work. good for them, and good for their communities, too. so far we've been talking a lot about small business here, which
is very, very important to the local economy. but there is a very rapidly growing big business here, too, that is making a lot of waves all around the world in tech. people are paying attention to this company, not only because it's growing so fast, but because it has found such an innovative way to tap into an underutilized resource. the morning commute for julie barrett is only as far as the kitchen where she grabs coffee, putts out the cat and starts reading what other people write on the internet. >> i feel i have the best of both worlds, that i contribute to the family income, and then i also get to participate in my children's life. >> reporter: it's real work with real pay for dozens of stay-at-home moms who have found new income, purpose, and satisfaction in a company called bazaar voice. >> i'm a single mom with four kids. i wanted to be home. >> i needed something that would allow me to contribute to my
husband's income, especially in these economic times. >> you use up all the time, you probably just don't realize it. >> reporter: so what does bazaar voice do? brett hurd started the company and it rubs those consumer product review sections you see on company websites when you want to buy a tv, a camera, a car. >> and you've got to make sure that that conversation doesn't have anything racist or profane or some kind of religious statement. >> reporter: so you're not editing it for content. people can say whatever they want about the product as long as it's legal and -- >> right. right. like any community, you want to have some standards. >> reporter: this is big business. and under five years, bazaar voice has picked up almost 800 clients, suites of offices with gongs and game rooms, all in the middle of a global recession. >> so in this office we have about 250. as i mentioned, we have quite a few that work at home. >> brett's simple philosophy,
care about the workers and they will care about the company. need proof? the vacation policy is this. take as much as you need. >> and in four years, nine months of business, treating people with that amount of great respect, not a single person has abused it. not one. so how many volumes of warranties have you read with user generated content? >> this is the first job i've ever worked at in 30 years of a career where i can plan my work schedule around my family, rather than the other way around. >> reporter: the result? just listen. how many of you are optimistic of the future of your area right now? >> woo! >> reporter: in a moment, down to the gulf where shipping out is in for a small alabama boat builder. >> this is where you drive the boat. >> reporter: when "building up america" on the job continues. gecko: gd news sir, i jugot ae
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visit floodsmart.gov/risk to learn your risk. that is the "uss alabama" one of the great warships of world war ii and now a great tourist attraction here in mobile. it's also a fitting symbol for a struggle that's going on all around the globe right now, being waged by alabama, a fight to get international business. now, every state tries that, but they've really stepped up their efforts here, and if you want to see the results, you travel just a little bit further south. it's about as far south as you can go in alabama without getting your feet wet, but here in the horizon shipbuilding yard, they have discovered the
secret to building up is not stopping there, but going offshore to find new markets and new customers. they build state of the artwork boats for pushing barges, servicing oil rigs, that sort of thing. and horizon is relying much more on sales to places like nigeria, mexico, even iraq. travis short helped start this business almost a dozen years ago. how important has international trade been to this company? >> it's been a very important for us, in particular, because of the downturn in the domestic markets. >> the small boatyards are very competitive. a lot of small boatyards have closed down. >> reporter: that's ron gunter, a vice president, and he says the days are simply gone for counting on the domestic marketplace as much as they used to. especially for $10 million marvels like these. >> this is the best part here. wait until you see this, tom. >> so this is the pilot house? >> this is where you drive the
boat. >> wow. and he's not alone. state officials say alabama firms have increased their exports by 36% in a half dozen years. >> you've got to do what you've got to do. whether it's here, overseas or where it is, you've got to go out there and find it. >> reporter: they've certainly been affected by the recession, they've lost more than 100 jobs. but the point is, they still have more than 200 jobs and they're still in business. and in this industry, that is saying something. it is saying the global marketplace is here to stay. do you think that any business out there can really afford to not be thinking globally at this point? >> i think not. particularly in our type of business. in the hard manufacturing business. >> reporter: because business these days is hard. and finding success can mean searching the seven seas. >> how are you all doing?
>> reporter: at places like dreamland barbecue, it's hard to imagine times are ever hard. indeed, this is part of an aggressive building up program down by the river in alabama's capital city. an effort to bring back the historic downtown and a lot of jobs, too. and this, too, is getting financial fuel from deals with other foreign firms. specifically one that set up shop a few years ago and has been onshoring jobs ever since. just south of montgomery at the gleaming new hyundai plant, almost every minute another new car rolls off the line. and just about as often, you can find someone like yolanda williams singing the company's praises. >> it is. i love it. i enjoy what i do every day. >> reporter: did you ever have any idea you would be making a living from the car industry in southern alabama? >> no, i never dreamed it. it's changed a lot of people's lives down here. >> reporter: winning this massive economic prize over
other states that wanted it had local leaders scrambling at one point, making sure hyundai knew how transportation services, power grids and most of all, the local community could and would meet all their needs. last year, hyundai was one of just three car companies to increase sales in america. the success for the community? so you're just looking to see if there's anything wrong with this piece? good jobs. >> means the world to me. and i know a lot of other people feel the same way. >> reporter: how secure do you feel in your job? >> i feel really secure. i really do. >> reporter: enough to buy a house, enough to move forward. >> i have. >> reporter: hyundai doesn't make everything it needs, so that means that lots of suppliers have sprung up all throughout this region to make bumpers and sunroofs and dashboards and that has created many more jobs. in all, local officials estimate more than 20,000 jobs have rippled out from the hyundai deal.
building up south alabama one job, one car, one minute at a time. coming up, following the yellow brick road to kansas, where small businesses are rolling out jobs in a big way, and something new under the sun. a solar surge in the wild west. "building up america" on the job continues. ( revving, siren blares )
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especially in places like the sunflower state of kansas. this is a unique state in the country. unique because it is geographically in the center and it has not been affected as much as others have by this evening nomic downturn. why is that? well, they have some cornerstone industries, that's for sure, but they also have much of that pioneer spirit that started this whole place. the spirit they're counting on right now. >> fire! ♪ >> reporter: out at the tourist attraction called old cow town amid the cannon and guns, kan n kansens are re-enacting the past but their present strug sl for the future. do you see a lot of people worrying about the economy right now? >> yeah. my friends, some of them don't know where the next check is coming from. >> i'm in the automotive
industry and we've seen a big downturn and everybody's worried about it. ♪ we're off to see the wizard >> reporter: worried but like the famous kansan in "the wizard of oz," they're not standing still. they've rolled out products worth billions. >> the yellow brick road, it's a blend of chardonnay. >> reporter: so many have turned to past success for inspiration and a competitive edge. that's what noah wright did. >> kansas, before prohibition, was the third largest grape producing state in the nation. >> this one is not too sweet, not do try. >> reporter: three years ago he had an idea to combine the state's little known wine making past with its fame as dorothy's home and oz winery has been booming ever since, despite the
recession. >> since we've opened we've grown every year and we don't know if we'd be ten times more than that or if we'd just be at the same level, you know? we just don't know if it's affecting us yet. we have no way to tell. >> reporter: such efforts by thousands of small businesses have helped produce an unemployment rate well below the national average. a housing market on the rebound, and a population, if not entirely upbeat, at least hopeful. that classic american tune, "home on the range" was written in kansas almost 140 years ago. and since that time it's become a lot more than just the state song. for many people here, it is a measure of commitment. their commitment to always build up whenever times turn down. >> the people here still have the same mentality. whatever happens to us, we're going to manage. we're going to make do. ♪ >> reporter: this is one of a
handful of states with no large cities. just a lot of medium-size places and plenty of small towns. and, yet, kansans have made their mark in the ages, in good times and bad. one of the industries that kansas is known all around the world for is airplane manufacturing. particularly corporate jets and smaller privately-owned planes. some of the biggest names in that business are right here in wichita, and they've been through a very tough time. they've lost a lot of business, and a lot of jobs. but they've also used this as a time to regroup and prepare themselves to build up again. a few years back, cessna, one of the most renowned names in aviation, was selling hundreds of multi million dollar airplanes annually. then the recession. scandals over the misuse of corporate jets and the company lost half of its orders and half of its jobs.
6,000 in wichita alone. for ceo jack pelten, a wake-up call. how is this company fundamentally different than it was two years ago? >> i think now every day we wake up, we feel we have to go out and earn our right to be that number one manufacturer in the general aviation space. it's not just a given. it's something that you have to prove every day. >> reporter: proving it has meant using the downtime to reconsider many manufacturing methods. for example, they found that by raising jet wings to a vertical position, technicians can move up, down, and across them quicker, saving time and labor that was previously lost maneuvering above and below the wing. by acquiring and attaching the most expensive parts like engines last, they reduce the holding time for costly inventory. they've stepped up customer service with rapid response teams on the ground, and if need be, in the air, to fix any plane
that needs repair. and throughout the chain of production, they say they are looking for new ideas, new savings, new efficiencies. in many ways it sounds like you completely rebuilt your production line. >> we did. we cleared out this entire part of the building, and said, let's go re-examine how we build airplanes and how we can become better at it. and not only does it affect the cost of quality which our customers are going to view positively, but it's also to help our employees. >> reporter: all of that has allowed the company to maintain aggressive research and development, and to roll out its latest model, despite the hard times. i mean, you really believe that if you don't keep developing and bringing new products on, you're never going to recover. >> you're not. innovate or die. you can't just hunker down and hide during this period of time. you have to continue to invest. >> reporter: because that, he believes, is what protects jobs on the ground and puts planes
into the sky. coming up, the secret of their success, how two men in very different fields are proving that building up is still possible, even in industries that some might want to write off. [ talking ] [ slap! ] -[ slap! slap! slap! slap! ] -ow, ow! [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum ta tum tum tums
hello, i'm fredricka whitfield in atlanta. what's left of hurricane earl is losing strength as it moves through canada. it now is just a tropical storm dumping rain on nova scotia, new brunswick and prince edward island. it caused a few power outages in massachusetts. and a state of emergency is in effect in christchurch, new zealand. more than 24 hours after a major earthquake there. there are no reports of death so far, but damage is substantial. the 7.0 magnitude quake caused buildings and roads to crumble. an overnight curfew is in effect and new zealand's army has been called in to prevent looting. and demonstratored marched in paris today, many held signs attacking president nicolas sarkozy.
the protest was partly targeting gypsies, thousands have been returned to romania and bulgaria since the crack down began. they're worried about the stripping of citizenship of those accused of the crimes. now back to "building up america" and a look at what small businesses are doing to protect job as cross the country. >> reporter: sometimes building up comes down to a simple equation. a few people with a good idea who are willing to work for it despite everyone else saying it can't work. for example, manufacturing has largely been written off in many areas as a dead industry. but don't say that to the couple we found in one small kansas town. in a shower of sparks and hot
metal, terry and debbie are building success at cannonball. ten years ago they opened shop to make one of terry's inventions. a fully automated hay loader and they are turning them out as fast as they can. why do you think your business is doing well when so many others aren't? >> well, i think number one is we have an excellent product. and we have personal contact with almost everybody we sell to. >> reporter: but there's more. they could not get a loan when they started so, they paid for everything. that kept them from getting too big too fast, or sinking money into buildings or help, and it prepared them for hard times. so you didn't have the loan money to work with but you also didn't have the debt to be saddled with. >> that's correct. with us, since we've always worked out of our pocket and always made our cash flow work, i think we weren't hit with that
when the banks started tightening up on their money. >> reporter: the small business development center says such home grown success stories are critical to this state's rebound. because, david may says, only a tiny fraction of new jobs come from out of state companies moving in. so what makes the difference between a small business that succeeds and one that does not? >> i think the biggest thing is probably customer focus. and it really starts with, i think, identifying a real need that exists and going after it and meeting that need and really taking an outside approach to the market. >> reporter: he should know. in the late '50s, two of the
school's graduates borrowed $600 and later sold it for $300 million. cannonball is not that big but provides 18 full-time jobs with $3 million in annual sales. and -- >> if i were 20 years younger i could double the size testify. >> reporter: it could be that big, you have that much business. >> oh, yeah. i could double it. >> reporter: for a farm equipment maker in the middle of a recession, not a bad harvest. just like manufacturing, the newspaper business is in dire straits, but not in one rural community. a bit more than a year ago, every reason to give up on the economy, the west and especially newspapers. >> we just walked around the whole day with tears in our eyes. >> reporter: after ten years of reporting for denver's "rocky mountain news," he and his colleagues were shocked to find it shulting down. >> that was a special place and it was a damn good newspaper. >> but rather than retreat, he charged straight down to his home state of new mexico. an unusual choice, perhaps, as a
place to rebuild a career. the economy here has been struggling with steep job losses in mining, manufacturing, construction. >> it was dead, nothing really going on. >> i would say it's very hard. >> you can find one but it's going to be tough. >> but in the little town of santa rosa, he found a newspaper for sale and with every last dollar he had, he bought it. was this a wise decision? >> it was the best thing i ever did. best thing i ever did. he says that because no matter what he is covering each day, he and his small staff are making a go of it. while other papers are dramatically cutting their costs, he increased his staff payroll by 40%, adding more pages, more photos, more stories. he killed the paper's website, arguing that it hurt street sales and through all of that he rebuilt the paper's relationship
with its readers. >> the community hangs on every story. the community hangs on every cartoon. >> reporter: so now when he lampoons a local tourist attraction, a famous diving hole, even business folks who rely on it for a living seem to enjoy the joke. >> you like the cartoon? >> i like it. i'm going to keep all of these. >> reporter: it's tough work. one night a week he drives 100 miles each way to pick up his papers from a printer, and many more nights he and his staff work far into the darkness, all to keep expenses down and quality up. >> those things, the readers don't photos, but what they sure as heck notice is that a lot of these big city newspapers are getting thinner and thinner and thinner. >> reporter: while his paper is getting thicker, and the result? subscriptions, street sales and advertising are all up, up, up.
>> this is a big lesson that you can apply to any paper in the country. it's working here because i'm spending more, not less. >> reporter: and because while other papers are folding all over, here, everyone knows every morning, he and his team will be back on the beat. we are rolling on, deeper into new mexico, where the sun shines brightly and the stars do, too. how this beautiful western state is going hollywood and creating hundreds of jobs in the process. "building up america," on the job. today just seemed like a great day to save. oh, it's not just today. with our free loyalty program, you earn great stuff like accident forgiveness and bigger discounts just by staying with us. oh! ooh! so, what you're saying is, it gets even better with age.
state. and the result? lights, cameras, and a lot of action. >> no, no, move! >> what do transformers, indiana jones. >> i thought that was closer. >> reporter: and no country for old men have in common? >> well, this is just a deal gone wrong, isn't it? >> reporter: they were all made in new mexico. the film industry is going gangbusters. >> it really is. >> reporter: the governor's man in charge of film, eric wit is delighted. >> it's helped a lot of people in our local economy, not just film buff the related industries. >> reporter: what is this place here? >> this is one of the more famous bars here in santa fe, it's been here about 40 years. in this bar, they shot "crazy heart." ♪ >> reporter: new mexico has built this love affair with film through an aggressive campaign
that started seven years ago. that's when the state began offering big rebates to filmmakers who would come and hire local workers buy local products and use local facilities like the sprawling new sound stages just outside of albuquerque. in addition, the state can help cover salaries for local folks being trained for film jobs. as a result, the number of skilled film workers here has gone from 100 to 3,000. >> and it's very high-paying jobs, great benefits. >> construction has really slowed down, this has really been a good, good way to fill that economic void for jobs. >> this is not an utterly new idea. thomas edison's picture company made his first film here and cowboy films rode all over the new mexico range. but what is happening now is much bigger than what was happening back then, even bigger
than what was happening 13 years ago when they had five film and video projects in this state. last year, they had more than 40, and the number keeps growing. the state estimates 10,000 jobs have been created on the sets and by the dozens of local businesses providing everything, from catering, to computer animation, to big spending filmmakers. do you have any idea how much they're spending each year here? >> they're spending about $300 million a year here right now in hard cash, generating about $1 billion a year in economic activity as the money circulates through the local economy. >> that ride, by almost all accounts, is just beginning. >> thanks for coming out. so good to be home. >> reporter: this state, for the relatively small population, has long struggled to draw big industries. but the national movement toward
green technology also has the economy looking up. ♪ >> reporter: with easily more than 300 days of sunshine each year, new mexico is one of the sunniest states in the country, and there's a wave of solar energy companies coming to set up shop. one of the biggest? schott solar. ever since this german-owned company opened this massive complex on the south side of albuquerque, they have been energizing the local jobs market. amid the whir of robots in this 175,000-square-foot plant, workers are turning out solar cells and related technology as fast as they can, and their products are going out the door just as quickly. >> it's a growing technology and there's a demand for it. >> we basically sell everything that we produce. >> you feel good about it? >> i do. >> personally, i see a future here. >> reporter: it's no accident, up in the capital, santa fe, another fellow believes he can
see the future, too. >> am i always right or what? >> yeah! >> reporter: governor bill richardson is pushing his state hard to recruit more and more solar companies. >> i've just concentrated like a laser on saying any solar entity, please come to new mexico. we will do everything we can to recruit you. and it's working. >> reporter: the governor's philosophy is simple. his state has long been home to some of the federal government's most advanced scientific and military labs, a great deal of technical expertise is already here. combine that with new companies on the leading edge of a green revolution, and the result? 2500 new jobs already this year, as more companies follow schott solar's lead. >> governor richardson and his cabinet rolled out the welcome mat in a lot of ways. they provided incentives for us, tax incentives on the property, training incentives. >> reporter: what is your best hope for all of this?
what do you hope people say 20 years from now about this idea? >> that new mexico, despite its small size, became the solar capital of america. that's my goal. and i think we're on our way. >> reporter: solar is still a tiny sliver of the u.s. energy market, but this state is intent on grabbing a big share of that, convinced it will mean a lot of jobs, money, and bright days ahead. just ahead for us, buildings, brad -- >> and there is no reason to build any other way now. >> reporter: and blues. there's no way to hide it. sir, have you been drinking tonight? if you ride drunk, you will get caught... and you will get arrested.
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no one has suffered more in this country lately than folks in the gulf coast. nobody here denies that there's been a lot of bad news here, a lot of setbacks, and an awful lot of losses. but equally undeniable is the fact that many people here are working every day to build up again. any time, any day, you can hear blues in the delta. this is the land of legends, muddy waters, b.b. king, and
it's home to their musical heirs, like terry b.b. williams. >> i don't care if it's a fast played blues or slow-played blues, it's still saying something about, i'm feeling bad but still life is okay. >> reporter: and lately, life has been more than okay here, even in the wake of the oil spill, katrina, and all the economic turmoil, because of a rising tide of blues tourism. at the delta blues museum, the crowds are growing so steadily with people from every state and dozens of foreign countries, it will soon be expanded to more than twice its size. this town alone pulled in $54 million from visitors last year. people tracing the history of
blues and rock through a string of historic sites throughout the region called the blues trail. cappy allen is with the county tourism commission. >> this year we've seen an increase of 13% in our tourism tax numbers. >> reporter: and all of that in the middle of a recession. >> absolutely. we are open for business. >> reporter: some say the surge is because the blues speak to folks in hard times. some say it's because people here are doing a better job marketing their attractions. but bill luckett and owner of the ground zero blues club says whatever the cause, the results are undeniable. how important do you think that is to building up this part of america in these hard times? >> well, we have lost a lot of our factories, a lot of our base manufacturing wise. blues music and tourism and interest in blues music is replacing that as an industry. >> reporter: according to lore, the blues man met the devil at
the cross roads and traded his soul for the gift of music. that's just a legend. but this is a fact. >> the tourist attraction used to be seasonal, now it's year-round. they come all the time now. >> reporter: and in the wake of so many problems for many folks, that feels heaven sent. next, building up the big easy way. mom, did you borrow my green shirt?
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spill, and yet, folks here still keep finding ways to build up. from the nonprofit construction company called build now, which is restoring working class neighborhoods. >> in every way, these really are family homes. >> absolutely. absolutely. >> reporter: to the dedicated army corps of engineers erecting a new massive flood protection system all around the old historic town. the walls you're building are fundamentally much, much stronger. >> oh, no doubt about it, in every way they're much stronger and more robust. >> reporter: from the unheralded teams at the superdome who brought the wonder of the world back to life to the efforts of a superstar, brad pitt, to bring affordable green housing to one of the hardest-hit parts of the ninth ward. >> every house you see here, last month, every one but one was producing more energy than it was consuming. >> reporter: for all of them, building up comes down to the simple philosophy of a